His Holiness Maharanyam Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji has composed several hundreds of kirtans glorifying various deities and depicting different bhavas of a devotee, from praise and enjoyment, friendship and motherhood, to love and intense prayer. These kirtans are all being compiled by his devotees under the title—Madhura Geetam.
Sri Swamiji has also composed many kirtans on various kshetras or places of pilgrimage around India.
In this series, we will go on a pradakshina of Bharata desha as we present, each month, a kirtan composed by Sri Swamiji on a particular kshetra, starting from south India and then going north.
Srirangam Sri Ranganatha
Srirangam, a beautiful island-town located in the middle of River Kaveri is the foremost among the 108 Divya Desams. It is also known as “bhooloka Vaikuntam” (vaikunta on Earth).
The presiding deity, Lord Ranganatha, is found reclining on his serpent Adi Sesha. Lord Ranganatha along with His “Ranga Vimanam” (the gopuram) manifested of His own accord, and was first worshipped by Lord Brahma and later by Lord Rama in Tretha Yuga. Rama handed over Lord Ranganatha to Vibheeshana. Vibheeshana flew from Ayodhya with Lord Ranganatha and the Ranga Vimanam. On his way to Lanka, he stopped briefly on the banks of Kaveri. Another king, Dharma Varma, who had been performing devout penance to bring Lord Ranganatha from Ayodhya was overjoyed to see the Lord on the banks of Kaveri and requested Ranganatha to stay. Lord Ranganatha acceded to his request and decided to stay but promised Vibheeshana that his gaze would always fall on Vibheeshana’s land. Till this day, the deity can be found facing south towards Sri Lanka.
The temple, by itself, is an architectural marvel. The main shrine is ensconced within 7 concentric rectangular structures that philosophically represent the 7 chakras of the human body.
Innumerable devotees have sung songs on this Lord. 11 of the 12 Azhwars have sung praises of Him. Andal worshipped Him in sringara bhava, married Him and merged with Him here at Srirangam.
Our Swamiji too has sung many songs on this deity. This month’s song, “Ranganatha Parabrahmane” is set in Kanada raga, a raga ideal for bringing out kaarunya rasa. This song extols the virtues of Lord Ranganatha and seeks His blessings.
ranganAtha para brahmaNe namah
bhuloka vaikunta kshetra rAjah
ranganAyika hridaya ullAsah
ubhaya kAveri madhya vAsah
uttama bhAshyakAra Ashritah
utsAhena sadA katAkshah
unnatha yoga shayanah
sapta prAkAra madhye rAja rAjah
sakala vaishNava jana mohakah
shankara sevita sarasija charaNah
sadA utsavaih Ananditah
kAmapUritah tava darshaNena
dhanvantarinA nitya sevita charaNah
dhIna muraLIdharah tava pakshameva
Salutations to Ranganatha theParaBrahma
The king of bhooloka Vaikunta
One who shines in Ranganayaki’s heart
One who resides amid the diverging Kaveri
One worshipped by Sri Ramanuja
One who enthusiastically casts his constant, merciful gaze
One reclining in a yoga posture
A king seated amidst the 7 concentric temple pathways
One who attracts all Vaishnavas
One whose Lotus feet were worshipped by Shankara
One who constantly enjoys utsavams
The pleasant-looking consort of Andal
Desires are fulfilled just by looking at you
One whose feet are worshipped daily by Dhanvantri
This helpless Muralidhara is on Your side
Sowmya Balasubramanian, Fremont, CA